Onward - Review
A Pixar movie is an event. Some of the greatest animated movies ever made were from this company. The Toy Story movies, The Incredibles movies, Inside Out, and Coco just to name a few. The latest is a movie that deals with wizards, magic, and family dynamics. Onward is the latest iteration of Pixar's tried and true formula.
Avengers: Infinity War co-stars Chris Pratt (Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and Tom Holland (from Spider-Man: Far From Home) play brothers who are very different, and only bond through their love of their father who suffered an early death.
Onward has all of the common Pixar tropes that make the movies what they are. A focus on loss, a protagonist with a lot of heart and a yearning for something more. It has raw emotion and a lot of humor like every other movie this company has made.
Tom Holland's character Ian Lightfoot never met his father, and his older nerdier brother Barley (Pratt) only has a few memories of him. They discover a magic spell that can bring their father back for 24 hours. When it goes wrong, they go on a quest to get it right.
What ensues after that is a whole lot of fun. This is one of the most diverse and fully realized worlds Pixar has built since Monster's Inc. There are elves, centaurs, pixies, and a ton of other mythical creatures living together in harmony. It is like Bright in that sense, except that Onward is actually watchable.
The movie follows some familiar tropes, and is predictable most of the way through. The twist at the end seems like it will be unsatisfying, but turns out to be even more satisfying than if it followed the original path.
Anybody who has a loved one that is no longer here, and wants to spend one more day with them, will love Onward. It really leans into what it means to lose, and how important it is to remember and honor them. It also teaches kids how to move on from something like that, and embrace what is around you. The emotions will hit you in several different spots, due to the sheer talent of Holland and Pratt. But the climactic scene at the end will leave you a blithering broken mess if you let it. (And I suggest that you let it.)
The supporting cast is great too. Julia Louis Dreyfus plays the mother, Laurel Lightfoot, and she is not at all 1-dimensional like some other similar characters are. Her own journey is a powerful one, and is the catalyst for the boys' quest starting. You can see her struggle as a single mother, and her journey for happiness post tragedy of her husband dying.
Octavia Spencer plays The Manticore, and she goes one of the biggest transformations of the movie. She added a spark and a spice to the movie that needed it when the film wasn't following the Lightfoot brothers. Because of that, the pacing of the film was excellent, because there were interesting things going on at all times.
The movie had a lot going for it. The poignant story, and the interesting 3-dimensional characters make for a strong, emotional journey. Onward is one of Pixar's best. It is definitely closer to the top of the list than it is to the bottom. It is nice to see them back to focusing on original content, after a lot of sequels being released by the studio.
Onward will tug at your heartstrings, and make you appreciate the people in your lives. It will also make you reminisce about the people who are no longer here. Pixar has a winner on their hands, and it is worth seeing on the big screen, no matter your age. You'll definitely want to hug your loved ones afterward.
Onward is now playing in theaters everywhere.